-- By Brett Stillo
Sherlock Holmes is alive and well today, but you won’t find him at his bee farm in Sussex Downs. He’s still on the case, solving mysteries on the BBC (Sherlock), American television (Elementary) and on the big screen (Mr. Holmes). Crime fighters come and go, but Mr. Holmes is a constant. The master detective has been with us for nearly 130 years and shows no sign of taking “His Last Bow” any time soon. This is truly an exciting time for this legendary character and his legion of fans—but it’s not the first time.
Universal’s Sherlock Holmes movies of the 1940’s were adventure-mysteries fueled by the pulp magazines of the era. The more staid, literary, murder-in-the-drawing-room stories of Holmes creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle gave way B-Movie thrills: diabolical plots, fiendish masterminds, nefarious enemy agents, and horrific death-traps, all set in embattled World War II London. These films reside in a macabre realm of shadows and intrigue that lie on the border of two cinematic worlds: Universal’s classic horror movies of the '30s, with their Hollywood-Gothic sets and expressionistic camera angles, and the foreboding dark streets of classic Film Noir of the late '40s. They are bound together by curling tendrils of fog constantly pumped out by studio smoke machines.